JT Hodges - "Hunt You Down"
By: Kyle Ward
Scoring a debut hit is often times a balancing act. Walk too close to the center, and you won’t be distinctive enough for anyone to take notice. Go too far off course, create a sound that’s too different or unique, and radio may be hesitant to play it. Country radio has proven it is more than just pop-country and contemporary country with the recent breakthroughs of Easton Corbin, The Band Perry, and the Zac Brown Band. But it can still be a fickle business, as Randy Montana and Frankie Ballard, among others, have failed to score hits despite a distinctive sound and positive reviews. Show Dog/Universal newcomer J.T. Hodges appears as if he wants to be another test case, as he brings one of 2011 more unique offerings in “Hunt You Down.”
The first thing that jumps out at you is the almost spoken-word rhythmic feel to the song. Then comes the whistling melody after the first part of the first verse. Lastly the spoken-word hook to end the chorus. Upon first listen I found all of this quite distracting and thought the hook to be a detriment rather than a distinguisher. Further listens eased my fears though as the song is insanely catchy and is an almost instant sing-along. Lyrically the song gets points for using specifics and being narrative and not descriptive, but the story is a bit implausible (she lives in the richest mansion on the highest hill in town and has a free plane, yet he’s going to have to hunt her down?) and I’m not sure I understand the bridge. Still, at least the song tells a fun story, the production is pleasantly quirky, and Hodges vocals are spot on.
The song is rather different though, and neither Show Dog nor Universal South has much of a history in launching successful artists. So Hodges hasn’t exactly been dealt an ideal hand, but hopefully radio gives this enough of a chance to let the public decide its fate. In the end this may just be a novelty song or it may be a breakthough, but I’m very interested in what Mr. Hodges has to offer in the future.